This poem is new and unedited. I don't know how I feel about it so I thought I better publish it before I changed my mind and hid it away.


As a girl, I watched your hands
clean records with soft cloths,
or ripped cotton t-shirts.
I sat cross-legged on deep red carpeting,
perhaps maroon or cherry,
as the sounds of Coltrane
or Coleman
filled the air.

As much as kneeling
at altars or quoting Bible verses,
this was religion,
born from abject
wailing cries
that my own young heart
could not yet imagine.

I knew, from your eyes,
and the opening sax solo
that there was something
desperate and uplifting
behind the notes, tongue
pressed against reed,
fingers over metal
pushing away,
floating up
and over:
and illusory.

feelings I would later
seek in bedrooms
and bars, on stages
and in the quiet;
I would call it
longing for redemption
and it would be years
before I realized
that all I wanted
was to recapture
the girl I had been

watching your hands
move over record grooves,

when everything
made sense,
when the world was waiting for me
to discover it

and the soundtrack was jazz
and the hum of your throat.